The holiday season is upon us. That means that kids around the world are trying to remain on Santa’s “nice” list. But how can they prove to Santa that they’ve been good this year? That’s what The Elf on the Shelf is here for.
The Elf on the Shelf is a family business that operates with the goal of helping families create holiday memories. The company creates products and stories based on their own family tradition. Read more about how this small company is marketing products to create new holiday traditions around the world in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does:
Sells books, toys and other products to help families create holiday memories.
The company’s main box set includes an elf that parents can display around their home during the holiday season along with a children’s book that tells the elf’s story. The elves are meant to be Santa’s eyes and ears at children’s homes around the world.
Offering a tradition in a box.
Christa Pitts, co-CEO of The Elf on the Shelf explains:
“Before The Elf on the Shelf, there weren’t many — if any — other companies that were offering a tradition in a box. I think that’s important to understand about this box set — it’s not just a book, it’s not a toy. This is a real scout elf from the North Pole and it fulfills an important mission — bringing together kids and parents to spend time at the holidays. That family focus is at the core of everything we do.”
How the Business Got Started:
Because of an old family tradition.
“When my siblings and I were growing up, our parents introduced us to an elf we named Fisbee who would appear at Thanksgiving and stay with us until Christmas Eve. Each night, Fisbee flew to the North Pole to report to Santa about our family — that’s how Santa knew whether we’d been naughty or nice. Each morning after Fisbee had visited the North Pole, he would perch in a new place and my brother, sister and I would race around the house to try to spot where he had landed.”
Years later, Pitts worked with her mom, Carol Aebersold, and sister, Chanda Bell, to come up with a business idea to share their tradition with the world.
Transitioning the business from specialty retail to mass retail.
“Our specialty clients are very important to us so we worked very hard to find a balance that worked for them and which also allowed us to continue to grow. If we hadn’t moved into the mass retail market to grow the business, I am afraid our brand would have been lost to history.”
Having The Elf on the Shelf featured as a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“Santa’s finest (and largest) scout elf was being seen by millions around the world! Our brand was being placed on par with Buzz Light Year, Spiderman, Hello Kitty and Snoopy — some of the most recognized brands in the world.”
60 full time employees.
What Makes Their Workplace Different:
It’s filled with holiday spirit year-round.
“Since we do work at the North Pole, we have Christmas trees up all year and all of our employees have elf names. When an employee completes their 90-day initiation period, they can hang their personalized ornament that contains their picture on the Christmas tree in the foyer.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000:
Hiring more “elves.”
If the Business Were a Book:
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
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Images: The Elf on the Shelf
Check out our Business Gift Giving Guide for more tips about holiday trends.More in: Holidays